GDP report: Tourism spending in decline

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April 25, 2012

Over the last five years, tourists have spent less not only due to the onset of the financial crisis, but as a result of promotional campaigns geared to attract business.
The disclosure, contained within a release issued by the Department of Statistics, is part of a greater analysis of gross domestic product (GDP) figures for the period 2007 to 2011.
The release went on to detail how tourism expenditure dropped $500 million in 2009 alone, "followed by a recovery that saw tourists also reaping the benefits of the many promotional campaigns being offered by the industry to encourage patronage".
On average, tourism spending represented 65 percent of all exports from 2007 to 2011.
The preliminary results are based on early estimates from The Central Bank of The Bahamas, the Ministry of Tourism and the Foreign Trade Section at the Department of Statistics.

The report said the GDP at constant prices in 2011 increased by 1.6 percent.
Meanwhile, the economy as a whole grew less last year due to higher unemployment in Grand Bahama and the loss of revenue for local businesses impacted by the New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP).
According to the Department of Statistics, households had less disposable income in 2009 due to job losses, rising prices and the general onset of the financial crisis. The next year saw a recovery with some Bahamians finding employment through NPRIP, the airport project and various other projects.
While many of these developments continued in 2011, including the rise of Baha Mar, "the positive effect of that economic activity was mitigated".
"The household expenditure at constant prices for 2011 also showed a slight decrease of 2 percent when delated using the Consumer Price All Items Index, which increased from 110.02 in 2010 to 113.36 in 2011," the report stated.
Imported goods from the U.S. were also "severely impacted" by high oil prices from 2008 to 2011.
The country imported 84 percent of all goods from the U.S. in 2010 alone.
"The application of this index resulted in a widening of the gap between the current and constant imports with a significantly lower import value at constant prices," the report said. "Imports are deducted in order to calculate the GDP and so the impact was not as weighty at constant prices as current prices."
Gross capital formation, measuring the value of investment in buildings, machinery and infrastructure in the economy, decreased by $78 million in current prices in 2010. The report pointed out how the decrease was supported by data on mortgage commitments obtained from the Central Bank in its February 2012 report.
Residential mortgage commitments fell by $73 million and commercial mortgage commitments fell by $36 million.
Construction services imported also showed a decline of $5 million in 2010, and machinery and transportation equipment fell by $56 million.

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News date : 04/25/2012    Category : Business, Nassau Guardian Stories

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